Three Virginia Wrestlers Move on to Session IV at NCAA Championships
PHILADELPHIA – The Virginia wrestling team recorded an outstanding first session Friday at the NCAA Championships with three wrestlers advancing to the evening session at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Session IV will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday. ESPNU will have the live broadcast. Live stats can be located at VirginiaSports.com. There is no internet video streaming for the Friday evening session.
The fifth seed at 174 pounds, Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) defeated No. 4 seed Colby Covington of Oregon State, 7-5, in the quarterfinals. Henrich (35-2) will wrestle No. 1-seeded Jon Reader of Iowa State in the national semifinals. He has clinched All-America honors for the third straight season, becoming the first Virginia wrestler to earn All-America laurels three times.
Matt Snyder (R-So., Lewistown, Pa.) at Derek Valenti (Jr., Newton, N.J.) each upset a seeded wrestler and won a pair of consolation-round matches Friday at 125 and 149 pounds, respectively, to advance to the evening session. Both need one more win tonight to secure All-America honors and a podium finish.
Snyder will wrestle No. 5 seed Zachary Sanders of Minnesota this evening, while Valenti will take on Eric Grajales of Michigan.
Virginia has accumulated 20.5 team points through three sessions and is tied for 19th place with Iowa State. Cornell owns a 61-60.5 edge over Penn State at the top of the leaderboard.
“We are kind of in unprecedented territory right now,” Virginia head coach Steve Garland said. “I can’t remember a time when UVa has had a chance for three All-Americans. I am very excited for tonight but a nervous wreck at the same time.”
Henrich (35-2) started fast with a first-period takedown, 14 seconds into the bout. He racked up 15 seconds of riding time before Covington escaped. Henrich then went in with a single-leg shot to take Covington down and worked the riding time to 1:21 before giving up another escape. Henrich added a second-period point when Covington was penalized for locked hands, then tacked on another with an escape. After going in for a shot, Henrich instead gave up takedown to cut the lead to 6-4. Henrich started on top in the third and built the riding time to 1:04 before Covington escaped. Covington had a near-takedown in the final 10 seconds, but Henrich somehow was able to pull his leg just before giving up the two points to hold on for the win.
Snyder (26-10) upset 11th-seeded Frank Perrelli of Cornell in a 13-4 major decision, then rallied to top Rutgers’ Joe Langel, 13-8. Snyder started out slowly against Perrelli, giving up a takedown 20 seconds into the match, and Perrelli flattened Snyder out and rode him for 1:48 before Snyder escaped. After choosing top to start the second, Snyder erased the riding time and then used a cradle to score a three-point nearfall and take the lead. He rode Perrelli for the entire period and led 4-2 after two periods. After Perrelli chose neutral to start the third, Snyder took him down and again put Perrelli on his back, getting a five-count to score the three-point nearfall. Snyder stayed in control and again turned Perrelli for a two-point nearfall, taking an 11-2 lead. Perrelli was able to score on a late reversal, but Snyder escaped for a point and finished with 1:11 in riding time to notch the 13-4 major decision.
Snyder again started slow against Langel, falling into a 6-1 hole in the second period. The comeback started after Langel scored a reversal, and Snyder responded with a reversal of his own to cut the lead to 6-3. He pulled Langel into a cradle and just missed the five-count in gaining a two-point near fall to slice the lead to 6-5. In the third period Snyder scored an early takedown, and again cradled Langel, but this time got the five-count for the three-point near fall to take a 10-6 lead. He added a three-point nearfall, but Langel promptly reversed him to cut the lead to 13-8. Langel got no closer as Snyder finished off the win.
In his opener Friday Valenti (26-13) avenged a regular-season loss to No. 12 seed Desi Green of Buffalo with a last-second 4-3 win. He then topped Donnie Corby of Central Michigan, 6-2.
After the two battled through a scoreless first period, Green chose the down position in the second period and Valenti was able to flatten him out while building up 1:10 in riding time before Green was able to kick loose. Green scored a takedown as time expired in the second, taking a 3-0 lead. After getting the riding time down to 52 seconds in the third, Green allowed Valenti to escape. Valenti went after Green with several shots, but finally connected at the edge of the mat with a double-leg shot to score a takedown with eight seconds remaining. He held control for the final eight ticks to finish with exactly one minute of riding to claim the bonus point and win 4-3.
Valenti took Corby down with 33 seconds left in the first, then rode him the remainder of the period. He took the top position to start the second, flattened Corby and built the riding time to 33 seconds. He then rode Corby for all of second period to push riding time to 2:33, Corby cut 21 seconds from the riding time in the third period before cutting Valenti loose. Valenti secured a takedown at the edge of the mat with 1:16 left to push the lead to 5-0, but gave up a penalty point at 1:09 for his third caution. He then allowed an escape point but held off Corby from there and added the riding time point for the 6-2 win.
Jon Fausey (R-Fr., Dalmatia, Pa.) won his first match Friday, defeating Arizona State’s Eric Starks in an 8-0 major decision. He was eliminated from the championships with a 7-3 loss to No. 6 seed Ryan Loder of Northern Iowa.
Fausey (29-10) dominated Starks, scoring a takedown at 1:59 of the first period and then riding him for the remainder of the period. Fausey scored on an escape 24 seconds into the second, and he added takedown with six seconds left in the period. He scored another takedown in the third and tacked on the riding time point to secure the major decision, 8-0.
Loder got on the board first with a takedown 45 seconds into the first period. Fausey escaped after 1:39 of riding time. He started down in the second and reversed Loder before giving up an escape to tie the match at three. Fausey started on top in the third with 1:53 of riding time against him and cut eight seconds off before allowing an escape. Loder scored another takedown with 24 seconds left and notched the bonus point to win 7-3.
Nick Nelson (R-Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) saw his season come to an end with an 11-8 loss to Lehigh’s Stephen Dutton. Nelson (11-3) rallied for a 7-1 deficit to tie the match but could not sustain the momentum, as he concluded his season with an 11-3 record. Nelson gave up takedown with 57 seconds left in the first period and escaped 31 seconds later. He gave up another takedown with two seconds left in the first and trailed 4-1 after one period. Dutton started on top in the second and promptly pulled Nelson onto his back and got the five-count for the three-point nearfall. Nelson escaped and was able to get a takedown with 30 seconds left, then rode him the rest of the period to cut the riding time to 1:02. Nelson took him down in the first five seconds of the third, then cut him loose, shot in again and gained another takedown. Nelson again let him escape and trailed 9-8. He could not finish on his late shots, and Dutton countered with a takedown in the final seconds to seal the 11-8 win.
Virginia’s NCAA Championships Results
First Round – No. 1 Anthony Robles (Arizona State) tech fall Matt Snyder, 17-1 (4:23)
Wrestlebacks First Round – Snyder dec. Shane Young (WVU), 5-4
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Snyder major dec. No. 11 Frank Perrelli (Cornell), 13-4
Wrestlebacks Third Round – Snyder dec. Joe Langel (Rutgers), 13-8
Wrestlebacks Fourth Round – Snyder vs. No. 5 Zachary Sanders (Minnesota)
First Round – Levi Mele (Northwestern) vs. Joe Spisak, 5-1
Wrestlebacks First Round – Tyler Small (Kent State) dec. Spisak, 5-4
First Round – Nick Nelson dec. Casey Thome (Army), 5-4 (TB1)
Second Round – No. 2 Michael Thorn (Minnesota) dec. Nelson, 6-1
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Stephen Dutton (Lehigh) dec. Nelson, 11-8
First Round – Derek Valenti dec. Dan Osterman (Michigan State), 3-1 (SV)
Second Round – No. 2 Frank Molinaro (Penn State) dec. Valenti, 6-3
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Valenti dec. No. 12 Desi Green (Buffalo), 4-3
Wrestlebacks Third Round – Valenti dec. Donnie Corby (Central Michigan), 6-2
Wrestlebacks Fourth Round – Valenti vs. Eric Grajales (Michigan)
First Round – No. 5 Chris Henrich major dec. Eric Starks (Arizona State), 10-2
Second Round – Henrich dec. No. 12 Mike Benefiel (Oklahoma State), 6-5
Quarterfinals – Henrich dec. No. 4 Colby Covington (Oregon State), 7-5
Semifinals – Henrich vs. No. 1 Jon Reader (Iowa State)
First Round – No. 9 Quentin Wright (Penn State) dec. Jon Fausey, 8-4
Wrestlebacks First Round – Fausey dec. Jason McCroskey (Chattanooga), 8-2
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Fausey major dec. Jake Meredith (Arizona State), 8-0
Wrestlebacks Third Round – No. 6 Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) dec. Fausey, 7-3
First Round – Kevin Lester (Columbia) dec. Jack Danilkowicz, 5-4
Wrestlebacks First Round – Ben Apland (Michigan) dec. Danilkowicz, 4-2